M42, The Great Orion Nebula

this is what winter solstice sunrise

looks like at our place winter has

officially arrived

this annual late December event also

coincides with the appearance of one of

the most interesting deep space objects

m42 the great Orion Nebula centered in

the constellation Orion this dramatic

object rises over the East horizon two

hours after sunset m42 is a stellar

nursery turn your binoculars on this

cosmic cloud and you will be witnessing

the birth of stars to observe him 42

locate the constellation Orion

Orion is visible from December to

February for most regions of Earth the

constellation gets its name from the

ancient Greeks Orion the Hunter the most

easily recognized feature of the

constellation are these three bright

stars Orion's belt once you have located

Orion's belt you will notice this row of

fainter stars hanging below the belt

this group of stars represents a Ryan's

sword these stars also locate m42

study the area with a pair of binoculars

and you will notice that the center

stars are hazy clearly defined you are

actually seeing the glow of the great

Orion Nebula a small telescope will

expose more detail

images from large telescopes like the

Hubble reveal even more detail this huge

nebula m42

is illuminated by hundreds of embryonic

stars newly formed from the vast clouds

of dust and hydrogen stars are created

from the particles that make up the

cloud of a nebula like m42 astronomers

call a star-forming nebula like this a

molecular cloud the force that starts

the process of star formation is gravity

Isaac Newton's law of universal

gravitation explains the process his

elegant law states that two objects

attract one another with a force

proportional to the product of their

masses m1 times m2 divided by the square

of the distance between them R squared

this means that any two particles in a

molecular cloud attract one another this

attraction creates gravitational

potential energy the particles start to

move towards each other

accelerating through space they gain

kinetic energy upon collision this

kinetic energy becomes heat energy if

the two particles now stay close

together this increased mass will

attract even more particles over

millions of years this area of the cloud

will become denser and more massive

precipitating a cascade of particles

accelerating towards this growing mass

the collisions will cause the core of

this region to heat even more eventually

reaching a critical temperature of 10

million degrees Kelvin at this point

atomic particles fused together

releasing a torrent of energy this is

nuclear fusion a storage both

we have come a long way in our

understanding of the forces driving our

evolving universe and it's exciting to

think that we can find and observe an

object like m42 and actually understand

what is happening there we have more

astronomy related videos and projects at

our website Hilah Road comm or visit our

YouTube channel science online